Texas Voters Demand Change: 'Educational Freedom Bill' Poised For 2025 Success! (WATCH)

By Javier Sanchez | Wednesday, 05 June 2024 11:10 PM
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Image Credit : Texas Governor's Office

In a recent political development, Texas voters have demonstrated their strong support for school choice by voting out Republicans from the state House of Representatives who had previously aligned with Democrats to obstruct school choice initiatives.

This shift in the political landscape has paved the way for the potential passage of a comprehensive school-choice bill in the 2025 legislative session.

On May 28, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared on X, "The Texas legislature now has enough votes to pass School Choice." His statement was in reference to the outcomes of the GOP primary elections in March and the primary runoff election that day, which collectively signaled a strong desire among Texans for educational freedom.

The electoral results not only ensured the removal of anti-school-choice representatives at the end of their term but also saw the triumph of staunch supporters of school choice. In the March primary election, six representatives who had voted against school choice in the previous year's special session were defeated. These included Steve Allison of San Antonio, Ernest Bailes of Shepherd, Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches, Glenn Rogers of Graford, Hugh Shine of Temple, and Reggie Smith of Sherman.

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In the runoff election held last week, three more anti-school-choice representatives lost their seats. These were Dewayne Burns of Cleburne, Justin Holland of Rockwall, and John Kuempel of Seguin. Additionally, five other anti-school-choice representatives, namely Kyle Kacal of College Station, Andrew Murr of Junction, Four Price of Amarillo, John Raney of College Station, and Ed Thompson of Pearland, decided not to seek reelection. The open-seat races were won by five pro-school-choice candidates.

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In total, advocates for school choice gained 14 seats in the Texas House of Representatives, resulting in a 28-point positive swing for school choice.

Despite the longstanding Republican trifecta, Texas has lacked any school-choice programs that allowed students to learn outside of the public school system. Governor Abbott has consistently called the legislature back for special sessions, committed to passing a universal education savings account that would provide parents with their children's education funds for the learning avenue of their choice.

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During the third special session in October, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1, known as the Texas Education Freedom Act. This bill proposed an $8,000 education savings account per child, which parents could allocate to the educational provider of their choice. However, the House never voted on the bill, as was the case with other similar school choice bills.

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In the fourth special legislative session in November, House Bill 1 was introduced. This education spending bill included an approximate $10,500 education savings account, with eligibility extended to all children statewide. However, an amendment to House Bill 1, proposed by Rep. John Raney, removed the school-choice provision from the education spending bill. The House voted 84-63 in favor of the amendment, with 21 Republican representatives from rural areas voting against granting Texas families educational freedom.

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In response, Governor Abbott and his allies began a campaign to expose the Republican representatives who voted against school choice and to support candidates who prioritized the needs of their constituents' families. This strategy proved to be highly successful, positioning Texas to make history in 2025 by granting all of its more than 5.5 million students — which comprises 10% of all K-12 students in the country — educational freedom.

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Dr. Keri D. Ingraham, a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute, Director of the American Center for Transforming Education, and a Senior Fellow at Independent Women’s Forum, is among those who have expressed their views on this matter. However, it should be noted that these views and opinions are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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